Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus)


French: Mésange à plumet noir German: Schwarzhäubchenmeise Spanish: Herrerillo crestinegro

Parus atricristatus


, 1850,

Rio Grande, Texas, USA


Formerly considered conspecific with B. bicolor (which see). Races intergrade widely; proposed race dysleptus in S USA (W Texas) and adjacent N Mexico (S to Sierra del Carmen, in Coahuila) synonymized with paloduro. Birds of race sennetti have been referred to using the older names castaneifrons and texensis, but both names apparently based on hybrids. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. a. paloduro Stevenson, 1940 – S USA (N Texas, SW Oklahoma), also SW Texas (Trans-Pecos) S to N Mexico (extreme E Chihuahua, NW Coahuila).
  • B. a. sennetti Ridgway, 1904 – C & S Texas.
  • B. a. atricristatus (Cassin, 1850) – S Texas (Rio Grande Valley) and NE Mexico (Nuevo León and Tamaulipas S to N Veracruz; also Sierra de los Tuxtlas in SE Veracruz)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–15 cm; 15·5–20·9 g. Large, fairly long-tailed tit with black pointed crest and grey upperparts. Male nominate race has forehead whitish... read more


    Calls include thin and somewhat explosive “tsit” or “tseet” as contact, sibilant “si-si-tchay-tchay... read more


    Mainly lowland dry forest, particularly mesquite (Prosopis pubescens) and scrub, including... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet chiefly small invertebrates and larvae, principally insects and spiders (Araneae); also some fruit, mainly berries, and during non-... read more


    Season late Feb to early Jun. Nest, usually built entirely by female, mostly of moss, grass, lichens, leaves, bark strips, animal hair and... read more


    Mainly resident; occasional short-distance movements both to higher and to lower elevations in non-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common; uncommon in S parts of range in Mexico.

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A. & Clement, P. (2020). Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).